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Sleep disturbance among Arabic breast cancer survivors



Sleep disturbance is the most common and distressing cancer symptom that negatively affects the quality of life (QoL). The main objective of this study is to determine the prevalence of sleep disturbance among Arabic women with breast cancer, post-treatment, and assess their sleep disturbance in relation to health-related QoL, demographics and treatment characteristics.


In this study, cross-sectional data were collected using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI: 19-items) and the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General (FACT-G: 27 items). Demographic information and treatment characteristics were also collected.


A total of 133 women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer agreed to participate in the study. Approximately three-quarters (73.7%; n = 98) of the participants was reported as poor sleepers (PSQI ˃ 5). The worse mean score of the PSQI component was the sleep latency with the highest score (M = 1.71, SD = 0.93). There were significant relationships between poor sleep and treatment (patients receiving both chemotherapy and radiotherapy) and with comorbidities (asthma, anaemia, hypertension/heart failure, diabetes/heart diseases) (P < 0.05). Those experiencing poor sleep had the lowest QoL among the cancer patients.


Sleep disturbance is a significant problem for Arabic patients diagnosed with breast cancer. The result suggests that sleep disturbance should be routinely assessed in clinical settings. Further research should develop an intervention for management to reduce sleep disturbance and improve sleep quality in cancer patients.

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Data Availability

The corresponding author has full control of all primary data. Primary data is available on request.


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Graduate Research Grants (GRG), Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Oman.

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Authors and Affiliations



A.M. completed the data collection, statistical support, and provided analysis and conceptualization and design and the manuscript preparation.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mohammed Al Maqbali.

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The study was approved by the local ethics committee.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Al Maqbali, M. Sleep disturbance among Arabic breast cancer survivors. Support Care Cancer 29, 5179–5186 (2021).

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  • Sleep disturbance
  • Arabic
  • Breast cancer
  • Quality of life
  • Survivors
  • PSQI